Bible translator murdered in his home

Bible translator Benjamin Tem was killed in October 2019 in his home in the Wum area of Cameroon.(Photo: Aghem Bible Translation Project)

A second Bible translator has been killed by suspected Fulani extremists in southern Cameroon this week.

Bible translator, Benjamin Tem, was murdered in his home in the Wum region on Sunday night, reported Efi Tembon, a Cameroonian activist who heads a ministry called Oasis Network for Community Transformation.

Tem served the Aghem Bible Translation Project, which completed a New Testament translation in the Aghem language in 2016. Tem, 48, was also a promoter of Bible listening groups in the Wum area. His funeral took place on Monday, and the tragedy sees him leave behind 5 children.

Those responsible for the killing have not been found yet, however, locals have blamed Fulani radicals, saying they have been encouraged by government actors to carry out attacks against separatist-supporting farming communities.

Fulani herders in Africa have clashed with farmers over land rights to graze cattle.

"He was attacked last night by people suspected to be pro-government Fulani herdsmen. They butchered him and cut his throat," Tembon posted on Facebook.

The murder comes just two months after another translator, Angus Fung, who also served in the Aghem Bible Translation Project in Wum, was killed in his home. According to Tembon, Fulani attackers have killed at least t24 people and burned several houses in the Wum area alone.

"I think our authorities have actually been working with the Fulanis," said Tembon. "There is a war of independence going on in the area and so the local population supports independence for southern Cameroon. And these attacks toward the local population is not just by Fulanis, the military is also attacking and burning homes. So the military is working hand-in-hand with the Fulanis. They have actually armed some Fulanis to help them fight the local population."

Tembon accused the government of trying to "inject a religious aspect to the conflict." He said, "[T]hey know that the Fulanis are Muslim and the local population tends to be Christians. And so trying to create a conflict will create chaos in the area."

At least 700,000 people have been internally displaced in Cameroon by the violence over the past two years, according to the United Nations.